Inquiry into the Australian pigmeat industry

by Editor
Monday, November 19, 2007

The Productivity Commission will undertake a safeguards inquiry into the impact of imports of pigmeat on the Australian pork industry. According to the Treasurer, the Minister for Trade and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry the inquiry also will examine more broadly structural adjustment that has been occurring recently in the industry.

As a World Trade Organization (WTO) Member, Australia has made binding commitments in relation to the trade of goods and services. The WTO safeguards agreement allows members to introduce safeguard measures. Safeguards may be used to respond to unexpected and unforeseen increased imports which have caused serious material injury to the relevant domestic industry, should an investigation by a competent authority report such measures are justified.

In accordance with the procedures notified to the WTO in 1998, the Australian Government has nominated the Productivity Commission to be Australia’s competent authority to investigate whether safeguard measures are justified under WTO rules.

The Commission will be conducting the inquiry in accordance with Australia’s safeguards procedures, which have been notified to the WTO. Australia will be notifying the WTO of this investigation within the next couple of days as well as advising relevant trading partners.

The Commission has been asked to provide an accelerated report examining whether critical circumstances exist to justify provisional safeguard measures. The Commission is to provide the accelerated report to the Government by 14 December 2007 with a final report due by the end of March 2008.